Friday, May 26, 2017

Lawrenceville Camp Fire Girls 1970s

Anita Allison was a Camp Fire Girl leader in Lawrenceville in the 1970s. Her daughter Jo Ann donated the Lawrenceville campfire girl uniform as well as a scrapbook.  

Thursday, May 25, 2017

Scrapbook Belonging to Vera Corrie 1920-1924

A donor gave us a very interesting scrabook belonging to Vera Corrie. Ms Corrie apparently made it during her high school years 1920-1924.  She appears to have gone to St Francisville but then transferred to Bridgeport where she graduated.  Here are a few of the pages.

Wednesday, May 24, 2017

BHS Music Dept. 1960s

May 11, 1961 Bridgeport High School students fare quite well at Illinois High School State Music Contest. Robert Climer is the music instructor. 

Earning first-place ratings were John Reglin with the clarinet solo, Gerald Moore with the tuba solo, Curtis Reglin with the bassoon solo, and Betty Worstell with a baritone horn solo.

Ensembles winning first-place metals were the trombone quartet composed of Beverly Perry, Patsy Vinson, Joe Sechrest, and Jeff Gray; a girl’s double ensemble composed of Mary Lewis, Janet Litherland, Kate Spond, Dixie Lee, Sandra Phillips, Marilyn Paddick, and Beverly Perry; a clarinet quartet composed of Sara Caywood, Carolyn Damer, Dixie Lee, and Sandy Sperry; and a mixed clarinet composed of John Reglin, Ruth Ann Griffith, Diana Gray, and Paula Greenlee.

Receiving second-place metals were a woodwind duet composed of Joe Schrader and Rita Meek, a woodwind duet composed of Sara Caywood and Curtis Reglin, and a girl’s double ensemble with the following singers: Neva Shumaker, Sandra Waller, Artie Justice, Elaine Hardacre, Kay Gulledge, Mary Newell, Faye Creek, and Diana Gerard.

Also the sax trio composed of Sherry Walsh, Carole Ridgely, and Mary Lusk receive second-place medals as did the brass quintet composed of Janet Litherland, Francis Crites, Betty Worstell, Joe Sechrest, and Kay Gainer. The trumpet trio with David Duckworth, Lora Joiner, and Gene Sattertherwaite earned second-place metals also.

Accompanists for the contestants were Marilyn Paddick, Dolores Glover, Sandra Phillips, and Robert Climer.
 A collection of BHS Music Dept. Programs 1960-1963

1960 BTHS pep band with Robert Climer directing 

Tuesday, May 23, 2017

Parmenas W. Beckes: His Life and Loves Part 2

In yesterday's post I told you about the researchers quest to discover the name of Parmenas Beckes' wife. Today I provide you with the results.   

The first marriage record we found for P.W. was to Elizabeth Jane Overby in Knox County, Ind. on May 12, 1843. The 1850 census (Knox County) showed Parmenas as head of household with a ‘wife’ named Elizabeth and children - America age 12, Richard age 6, Margaret age 4, and Caleb age 1. Because of America’s age and the date of the marriage to Elizabeth, it appears that Parmenas had been married before. (You can do the math.)  The last three children would be his from the marriage to Elizabeth.

The 1860 census (Knox County) is often confused by the internet genealogists, because on the line under P. W. Beckes’ entry is America’s name with a given age of 41, according to transcribers. Thus, she is often mistakenly listed as his wife. In reality, no wife is listed.   America, with her correct age of 21, Richard 16, Margaret 14, Butler 10,  as well as Wm. S. who was born in 1858 were listed in the household, leading us to conclude that  Elizabeth Jane must have died shortly after Wm S. was born. No tombstone for her has been found but we didn’t research Knox County burials. (Note though that the ten year old boy is now known as Butler, instead of Caleb just to confuse us, no doubt. However, this would become very helpful later in our research.)

By 1870 P.W. was living in Russellville, Lawrence County, Ill.  He is listed as Webb Beckes on the census; no wife is listed but his children were:  William 17, Lustro 10, Everettis 7, and ‘Clarance’  5.  Clearly P.W. had married again because Lustro, Everettis and Clarance were born in the decade after the 1860 census. So we began to search for another marriage license. P.W. was apparently married to M. Richards on July 8, 1861 in Knox County, making her the mother of these three children.  (This would be his third marriage?)

Returning now to the two tombstones for his children found in Tewalt, the one for the an infant daughter who died March 14, 1870, age 9 months, with her parents listed as P.W. and E.M. Beckes.  We think M. Richards might have been E. M. Richards.  (Too bad history has failed to give this woman a real name.)

The second stone was for Caleb B. (or Butler) son of P.W. and E.J. Beckes who died 4-10-1870 at age 21 years. His mother, E.J. was probably Elizabeth Jane, P. W.’s second (?) wife.  (Are you lost yet?)

A small article in the Vincennes Weekly Sun Saturday, June 11, 1870, was found on- line in the newspaper database offered by the Brockman House library:

Sad Bereavement—We are pained to learn that Mr. Parmenus W. Beckes living in Russellville, Ill has lost his wife and three children, within the last few weeks, from winter fever.  Mr. B. has the heartfelt sympathies of his many friends in his sad bereavement.

History once again fails to provide this wife of Parmenas with a name. The researchers believe though, based on the above information, that she was E.M. Beckes. Their 9 month baby girl died; Caleb (Parmenas’ son with Elizabeth Jane) died; and another child (not named) also died of winter fever.  No tombstone for the unnamed wife, or the third child have been found in Tewalt but they are surely buried there.  

We were having so much fun by this time that we decided to determine who Lavina H. Beckes was. Black’s Cemetery book listed her as the wife of P.J. Beckes, which we now know is an error.  It should read P.W. Beckes.  He did indeed marry Mrs. Lavina Winkles on May 17, 1871 according to the Lawrence County marriage records.   This fourth wife then dies on January 9, 1874 just three years later and is buried at Tewalt Cemetery.  Lavina was probably the mother of Orville born in 1873. 

Thinking that we might be done with our research we re-read the obituary for Parmenas again, and realized that he was STILL survived by a wife so it wasn’t Lavina.  We returned to the marriage records and found that P.W. once again heard wedding bells and married Elizabeth Buning on May 12, 1874 in Knox County, Ind. (this would be his fifth wife and… within 4 months of the last one’s death.   The man did love his women!)

The 1880 census shows him, age 60 living with Elizabeth age 43, Everett age 17, Clarance age 15, Orville age 7 and Cora Funk, age 9 (listed as his daughter) in Russell Township. This confirmed that he did marry Elizabeth; this may have been his third wife with the name of Elizabeth.    We hoped we were done with Parmenas and his wives until we found another marriage record for him to L. Hodges in Knox County, Ind.  November 20, 1884. (We are not sure if this is our ‘Parmenas’.  Because if it is, Elizabeth died after the 1880 census and he remarried for the sixth time.)

Parmenus died December 10, 1890 of winter fever, 71 years old, 10 months and 26 days.  At the time of his death he was a justice of the peace and had once been a miller.   His obit mentions that he was survived by a wife, but doesn’t provide her name.  Could it be because no one could keep track of his wives? We believe it was either Elizabeth (wife #5) or L. Hodges (wife #6).

(Disclaimer:  We have pieced together what we consider to be primary sources to arrive at our conclusion of the ‘life and loves’ of P.W. Beckes. (In the process we have spent 6 hours or more of our lives that we will never get back.)  We did not determine who Cora Funk, age 9, was, listed as his daughter in the 1880 census.  And just to add to the confusion, the death certificate for Clarence who died March 18, 1929 listed his mother as an Overby, who we believed died 13 ?  years before he was born. So if another researcher arrives at a different conclusion, we will be happy to print it. Also an apology if needed to the descendants of Parmenas. We meant no disrespect to his memory.

Monday, May 22, 2017

Parmenas W. Beckes: His Life and Loves Part 1

Rose Robeson has been busy hunting obituaries for Tewalt and Price cemeteries. She found the following one for Permenas W. Beckes, buried in Tewalt,  dated December 12, 1890 in the Vincennes Western Sun.

Intelligence was received today of the death of Parmenas W. Beckes at his home in Russellville, Ill at 5 o’clock last evening after an illness of but four days of winter fever; age  71 years, 10 months, and 26 days. Deceased was a native of Knox County where he resided until a few years since when he removed to Russellville.  He was a brother of Wm. S. Beckes, Thos. J. Beckes and Mrs. Sophi Alexander of this county (Knox) and Mrs. Hugh Barr of Washington, and Benj. V. Beckes of Grand Haven, Kansas. His first illness was felt on last Saturday when he was unable to attend the funeral of his sister, the late Mrs. Emma Milam in this city (Vincennes). He grew rapidly worse and death ensued at the hour above named.  Deceased leaves a widow and several children to mourn his sudden demise.  He held positions of trust in the communities where he lived; was a man of sterling integrity and was prominent in Odd fellowship.  At the time of his death he was a Justice of the Peace.  Mr. Beckes was a member of the Christian church at Russellville.  His funeral will take place tomorrow.

We thought it was unusual that the writer would list in detail the brothers and sisters of the deceased, but not name the widow and children so we thought we would investigate, since we had other Beckes’ buried in Tewalt Cemetery. (We also wanted to give the poor widow a name. It turned out that a lot of his wives weren’t named, but more on that later. )

Parmenas W. was sometimes called P.W. and on one census was shown as ‘Webb’. Most of the time, the census takers couldn’t spell his first or his last name correctly (ie. Barmenas Bachus) and finding him was difficult in the census records.  We are not sure who his parents were, but we suspect his mother’s name was Webb. And from the obit, we now know, of course, who his brothers and sisters were. But we were really looking for his wife.

Our research led us to another Parmenas Beckes in Vincennes, Knox Co., Ind. around the early 1800’s who was the sheriff of Vincennes in 1807. His brother was also Benj. V. Beckes and it is easy for internet researchers to get the two Parmenas’ confused.  They are probably all related and followed the rather irritating habit of naming their children after the relatives of the previous generation. (Irritating at least to genealogists, but not to imply that there is anything wrong with the practice otherwise.)   However, this Parmenas of Vincennes had no children in 1814 when he fought the ‘famous’ duel in Lawrence County.   He probably also fought in the American Revolution and/or the War of 1812. We didn’t research this further because we didn’t think he was related to Tewalt Cemetery. (However, we did get sidetracked with the duel and will post that at a later time!)

In addition to Parmenas’ tombstone at Tewalt, we found a stone for Lavina H. Beckes 1840-1874; one for the Infant daughter of P.W. and E.M Beckes who died March 14, 1870 aged 9 months, and another stone for Caleb B., son of P.W. and E.J. Beckes who died April 10, 1870 aged 21 years. We suspected they were all related but Caleb and the infant appeared to have different mothers, (E.M. and E.J.).   Irene Black’s cemetery book listed Lavina as P.W.’s wife. We naively thought an hour or two of research could resolve perhaps a cemetery transcription error, and in the process determine who his surviving widow was.  How foolish we were, as any professional genealogist could have told us. 

Tomorrow the results of our research.  

Friday, May 19, 2017

May Program- 1925 Tri-State Tornado


            Angela Mason, author of Death Rides the Sky:  The Story of the 1925 Tri-State Tornado, will be the guest speaker at the Lawrence County Historical Society on Monday, May 22, at 7:00 p.m., at the History Center on the corner of 12th and State in Lawrenceville. 

Mason’s book, now in its second edition, details the worst tornado disaster in U.S. history.  In the early afternoon of March 18, 1925, the tornado was first sighted in Shannon County, Missouri.  The tornado moved east, crossing the Mississippi, and continued across southern Illinois, until it then crossed the Wabash River into Indiana, finally dissipating near Petersburg.  Over the course of 3-1/2 hours, the tornado travelled 220 miles, killing 695 persons, injuring more than 2,000, and destroying 15,000 homes.

Mason tells the story through the eyes of those who experienced it – the survivors, many of whom were children when the tornado swept down, whose lives were forever changed.

Copies of Mason’s book will be available for purchase and signed by the author.  The program is free and open to the public.

Thursday, May 18, 2017

First Hand Account of Sumner Bank Robery 1929

On June 17, 1929 the bank in Sumner was robbed.  An account of this was posted earlier on this blog, but now a first hand account has surfaced. 

Sumner Bank Robbery June 17, 1929 by Rex McVickar published in the  Sumner Press 2/22/1996

My information about the bank robbery is more firsthand.  From my notes, and from notes that son Dan made of father/son conversations of long ago, the date of this event is fixed at June 17, 1929.  

Shortly after 11:00 a.m., men later identified as Thomas Herndon and Hillary Litton came into the First National Bank where I was a cashier. Also working in the Bank that morning were Dale Gubelman, Malcolm Lathrop and O.D. Atkins.  These “customers” began waving guns, announced a robbery, demanded that we scoop up the money and deliver same to them.  When Litton turned again toward me, he noticed that my hands were below the counter (I was trying to reach a gun that was stored there).  Without warning, he fired his pistol from a distance of maybe six feet from my head.  

There was a brass railing just above the marble ledge which separated the cashiers and tellers from the customers.  The bullet struck one of the upright brass rods, causing lead splinters to fly past my face, inflicting powder burns and non-lethal injuries.  I was grateful for the brass rod.  Later the Bank gave me the rod as a memento of a memorable morning. 

With about $8,600 cash for their efforts, these gentlemen ran out the front door and jumped into a car where an accomplice, Harley Cochran, was seated.  I knew Cochran, we went to school together in Sumner.  He was 3-4 years older than I.  We later learned that while these gentlemen were in the Bank, Mr. Cochran fired as many as three times, once at Callie Jones, a clerk in Saxton’s Grocery (where City Library was later located).  Apparently Jones was watching the drama unfold.  The bullet narrowly missed him.  The three in their getaway car that they had stolen from Curly Stull, drove east out the old road across the bottom to the bridge.  Then they went north to where their Oldsmobile was parked.  They abandoned Stull’s vehicle.

Reconstruction of their flight indicated that they had crossed the Wabash by ferry at Palestine.  The operator knew Cochran and informed the authorities when knowledge of the robbery reached him.
All were tried, convicted and sentenced.  They each served several years.  Cochran was the last apprehended and first released.  While in prison, he developed a terminal illness, and was sent home to die.

As a footnote to this story, I would observe that I have kept the bullet and the brass rod that saved my life as mementos.  Also, I purchased Linton’s .32 Smith & Wesson revolver from Dr. Stoll for $40.  I am uncertain how he came into possession of such.